This is Routine Row, a narrow lane of red-roofed houses, with colourfully painted window surrounds, in the village of Kilrenny in Fife. Its whitewashed cottages are all attached to each other, with very small front gardens. Despite the lack of space a few planted pots, hanging baskets and window boxes, added to some ground-level foliage, produces a cheering and welcoming effect.
I found this book for 99p in a second-hand shop and thought it might make a useful reference volume. When I got it home and looked at it more closely I decided I should read it right through from cover to cover.
The book was brought out to accompany a television series of the same name sixteen years ago. I don’t remember seeing any of the programme, but in those days I wasn’t particularly interested in gardening.
This is the first in what I think is a two volume set, and it deals with the basics of gardening. In the first couple of chapters Alan explains what plants are and how they grow. This bit of the book took me back to school biology lessons and I was pleasantly surprised when things I’d forgotten I knew began coming back to me.
In the following chapters the book describes how to plan borders, design flower beds and deal with weeds. Going through each of the four seasons, it explains what needs to be done in a garden at certain times of year, and suggests ways to keep the garden interesting all year round.
Routine, and more specific, garden maintenance is gone into in some detail, including a whole chapter on how to look after lawns, and there’s quite a bit of information about how to garden organically.
I read this book over a number of days during my breakfast and each morning I learned something new and helpful. I hadn’t expected it to be such an easy and enjoyable read, and I’ll be keeping my eye out for the second book in the series when rummaging through second-hand bookshops.
A swathe of magnificent purple lupins at Dirnanean Garden in Perthshire.
A few days ago I visited Murton Farm nature reserve, near Forfar in the county of Angus. On a previous visit, made in the summertime, the landscape was filled with bright yellow gorse and bushy green-leaved trees. By late October it was equally beautiful, with autumnal shades and a feeling of things settling down for the winter.
This is our neighbour’s Virginia creeper, seen from our side of the dividing wall between the gardens. Each autumn we get a splendid display as the leaves turn from a beautiful glossy green to magnificent fiery shades. On a sunny day, as it was yesterday when I took this picture, the whole wall seems to glow.
Heather-clad hills in the distance and rosebay willowherb flowering in the foreground near Broughton in the Scottish Borders.